Built in 1890 as the Russian consulate, this edifice served as a center of political intrigue for many years. The oldest wing of the hotel is the original consulate, where fans of the "Great Game" can stay in musty suites with luxurious rugs and old furniture. The hotel is the least expensive of those open to foreigners, but newer rooms range from comfortable to dilapidated, so be sure to look at a few before you decide. The nicer ones surround a pleasant courtyard in the rear. Travel agencies are clustered around the lobby.